a night owl...

everyone is in bed, they have been there for hours.
yet, i find myself awake.
the hours go by so quick and before i know it, it is after midnight.

there is just something about the stillness of the night time that i love. i have found myself staying up later and later. these days, i can't get to bed much before midnight. i guess you could say i am becoming a night owl. i cherish the quiet time. everyone is asleep and i can think. i can read. i can write. i can do whatever i want to. uninterrupted.

there have been many nights where i regret staying up so late because the morning has come too quickly. or because a nursing baby wakes me.

so, what about you, are you a night owl too? or do you go to bed early and wake up early?


season changes, schedule changes...

i feel like the summer has just flown right by. even though the weather will stay warm around here for quite sometime, fall is still in the air. it seems with almost every season change, a schedule change happens too. summer around here has been really low key. we haven't had many commitments and it has been really laid back. but as we head into fall, our schedule is getting busier.

our school schedule is changing. we will no longer have to do car pool lines, so that frees me up a lot in the afternoon. our daily schedule for homeschooling will be kind of relaxed and will revolve around jaelyn's nap schedule. we will try to do school when she is sleeping. we will also have a lot more time for playdates, because we won't have homework to do!

we will be adding some extracurricular activities to our schedule. josh will be playing soccer at the morrison ymca, he will have one practice and one game a week. jordyn will be taking dance one morning a week at masterpiece studios. last year, we took a year off of sports & dance. the kids really missed it but i just couldn't do a newborn, school responsibilites (car pool, homework, tired kindergartener) and extra activities. but this year there is more time for that.

also, i just started a twelve week bible study that i am so excited about. i will save the details for an entire post of it's own.

these things are in addition to our weekly couple's small group and my monthly girlfriend get togethers.

i feel really good about what our schedule looks like right now. i am always very careful to monitor this. i know i can't get too busy. but i also know we need a good balance of things to do outside of home, work and school. i am really good about looking at our schedule and if it gets overwhelming, i don't hesitate to make changes.


just so you know...

first thank you to everyone who gave me sweet words of encouragement on my blog, email, phone calls and texts - i truly appreciate each and every one of you and each and every word you spoke into my life. without you, i would not be feeling the way i am.

second, i am doing much better and feeling much better about the decision to homeschool. after a mild panic attack and a long talk with jamil, i am going to give it a try. i am not going to let fear take over. i am not going to take the "easy road" {for me} and sent them to school {please note: i am not say that if you send your kids to school you are taking the easy way out, what i am saying is that would be what i would be doing bc of this task God has laid before ME!}

third, we have been getting our feet wet and doing some school stuff over the last few days and it is going pretty well. jordyn has actually been asking me to "do school". that has made me feel so much better to know that she is liking it so far! and i think josh and jesiah are too, even though they have yet to say it.

so i am going to remind myself each and every day why we have made this decision. and with God I can do this! i know He brought me to it and He will be the only one to bring me through it.


just don't ask...

a school bus just went by our house and it didn't stop here to drop off my kids. school started today in our area and my kids were not there. i've read lots of back to school posts from other blogging mommas with cute pictures but we didn't take any. there are no backpacks to unload, no 500 forms to sign and send back to school. no stories to hear about their teachers or their classmates. instead today we went to the waterpark and held on to the last few days of summer. but they are slipping away fast. and the reality that i am going to homeschool is hitting me harder than ever.

even though my kids' previous school started a few weeks ago, it really didn't hit me until today that my kids are not going back to school. really, they are not. let me say it again.

my. kids. are. not. going. back. to. school. oh. my. gosh.

what have i gotten myself into? i keep asking myself why did i make this decision to homeschool? i keep questioning the call God placed on my heart. maybe just maybe i misunderstood what He asked of me. maybe?

over the last few days, i've been asked about homeschooling. a lot. i have to force myself to hold back the tears. my husband told me that i should post on my twitter: just don't ask me about homeschooling right now.

seriously, it happened today, when i was asked about it. i can't even talk about it because i feel like the flood gates will just open up and i will begin bawling like a baby. a sweet friend of mine asked me at church the other night if i was ready to start. immediately, she could tell that i was going to break down. at first, she tried to change the subject so i wouldn't cry. but instead she offered encouragement. and i was able to regain my composure and hold it together. she shared with me that she feels like that every. single. year. and she has been homeschooling for fourteen years. wow. i love how God puts those people into my life to be there to encourage me.

but i am telling you i feel like the encouragement is just going over my head. and it isn't hitting my heart. i feel really lonely and i am full of fear. i just don't know if i can do this or how i am going to do this. how am i going to get through each day? it just seems like too much. i am so selfish and craving that relief that most moms feel when they send their kids back to school. my two older kids, the school age kids, have been very ill behaved and ungrateful towards me and i think to myself and have voiced to others, what in the world am i doing? why am i giving up so much and why am i taking this role on as their teacher too? why can't i be like the other moms sending their kids off to school?

i wonder how and when will i ever carry on an adult conversation or go out to lunch with a friend? how do i do playdates with my friends who just have 1 child at home and i have FOUR. what am i thinking? how do i have a life? really?

in so many ways this is a huge life changing decision and i want to change my mind again. i want to take back all the things that i said about how good homeschooling can be.

i am so full of doubt. i am so full of fear. i am so full of loneliness. i just want to jump in the van and register them for school. right now. if i do it, they can go tomorrow and will have barely missed a beat. really, it is so tempting. i feel like if i send them to school such a burden will be lifted off of me. but, what's holding me back?

i just don't know what life looks like as a mom who homeschools and eats, breathes and sleeps nothing but her kids. it is one of the scariest places i have ever been. i want to run. really fast.

i didn't think i would feel this way. but i do.

just being real.


off to a slow start...

this week, i am going to start out slowly with our homeschooling adventure. i have made some plans for some things we will do. the biggest thing is we are learning our routine and our schedule. the kids are also going to have some time to get used to mommy being their teacher. we are working on obedience and respect.

i am also working on planning and arranging our school supplies and materials, while they are doing some light school work. just getting them used to the idea that school is starting for our family.

this morning, i worked with the boys, because jordyn was hanging out with her grandmother today! it was good to start of slow today and with just two out of three of my school age kids!

while we finished up on some school stuff, jaelyn was getting into everything, pulling books and toys off the shelves. keeping up with her is going to prove to be a challenge.


i was able to upload pictures and update jaelyn's blog!
click here for her 10 month update!!
better late than never!


a few links to see...

our complete photo shoot is done!! to see all of our family pictures you can go here if you'd like to see the slideshow you can go here. we are absolutely thrilled with the beautiful shots candice and daniel took of our family!! they are amazing!!

i wanted to give you an update on my blog friend, jeannette. jeanette makes most of my girl's bows, i have posted about her on here before. all of the proceeds from her bows go towards the adoption of their sweet daughter, sara beth. the last time i posted about her bows, she was still waiting on a referral and since then God has blessed their family and they will soon be traveling to bring their sweet baby girl home. jeannette is doing a raffle and a sale on her blog, if you need some bows, please consider sarabeth bows you can go here. she is absolutely a joy to work with!

tomorrow, i will post another link to jaelyn's blog, i wrote an update on her there, but i am having trouble loading photos to blogger tonight. i realized that i hadn't written anything for her 10 month old post. so i wrote it, i just want to include some recent pictures.


school planning...

this summer i have been busy planning and preparing for our adventure in homeschooling! i have gotten really overwhelmed at times. and everytime i felt like i was going to have a panic attack, God always threw me a lifesaver, a person to encourage or a scripture to remember.

pretty much everyday, i question our decision to do this and like it has been from the beginning - it is fear based. i just don't know what it will look like. i just don't know how i can do this and be good at it. but i feel strongly that God has called me to this. and i am relying on the fact that He will do this through me.

so this is where i am with our homeschool plans...

i spent a great deal of time researching and looking at curriculum and trying to figure out what will work best with my kids (preschool, first and third grade) i finally narrowed it down and picked out what i think would be a good fit. then, i started looking for the best deal before i bought anything. we have two homeschool stores in my area, one is a used curriculum store and one has new curriculum. i made several trips to both before buying anything. and then i bought some things online too. and i still have a few more pieces to add to our collection.

i have begun to transform our dining room into a school room. i don't want the dining room to look like a classroom, but i want to have most of our things right there for when we need them. i have just begun this transformation. we have moved some bookshelves into the room for storage. i have organized some things on the shelves. and i have had two friends who were teachers before having kids offer to help me make some bulletin boards, i think i will take them up on that offer!!! so get ready ladies!

i am going to use the "filebox/workbox" system for each of my kids. i am totally excited about this - i love organizing and i love school supplies!!! basically, each child will have a container with file folders, each labeled with the subjects we are working on. their school books and papers will be filed in there. i am making them notebooks to keep in there too.

i have begun to outline {roughly} what our days will look like. i have made our calendar for the year and we will officially begin on september 1st.

i have made lists upon lists of supplies we need and goals we have for the year.

i have this huge desire that everything has to be done and ready to go on the first day. and i know that is not realistic. i know that this year will be a year for learning and growing for all of us.

i am trying to be flexible and keep this in mind but it is hard. i have been told by many other homeschooling moms to focus on the 3 r's this year and do very little else.

i am nervous, but i think that is normal. aren't most teachers nervous as the first day of school approaches?

i have great expectations on what God is going to do in the life of our family through this adventure. and i can't wait to share that with you!


sneak peek...

so, we had our family photos taken a few weeks ago,
we just love having our photos done!
candice and daniel are so much fun!
my kids love them and love getting their pictures taken.

candice has been teasing us with a few pictures..
so i am going to tease you too!

you can go here to see a mini photo shoot with jaelyn
& also here
for a picture of jordyn

more to come soon!!!!

we can't wait!

our photographers rock!!!


and the winner is...

@ imperfect living

melanie is the winner of my first blog giveaway!
she is going to receive a copy of elevation's newest cd, god with us!

congratulations melanie!!

check out melanie's blog when you have a chance.
i "met" her through a friend's blog! and i am so glad that i did!
she is so sweet and encouraging. she has four beautiful kids.


first, second, third...

just a few things to share, in no particular order...

first, if you didn't know, i am doing my first ever blog giveaway, it is for a copy of elevation's worship team's new cd called god with us. you can check it out here. to enter just leave me a comment and tell me your favorite song of all time, it doesn't have to be from the cd, chances are if you have a favorite song from the cd, you wouldn't enter the contest bc you would have a copy! i was going to close the contest tonight but i will close it on sunday night and announce the winner on monday night. so go here and enter ~ i can't wait to bless some lucky winner with this awesome cd!!!

second, it has been a really rough week around here, i have felt very overwhelmed. my kids are a little out of control, i am a little stressed out and i am just very short on patience. whew! now that i got that off my shoulders... the lack of blogging this week represents the lack of anything positive to say. so i am going with my motto, if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all.

third, despite my rough week, God is working; molding and shaping me for so many things right now. it is a little scary. it is a good kind of scary. he has been showing me how He wants to use me and that is a little overwhelming too. a wonderful friend of mine said this to me once, "you are right, dawn, you can't do it but He can do it through you" and i am holding tightly to that!


my two girls...

my girls at nine months old...

jaelyn 7/09

jordyn 4/04

they are both wearing the same onesie and sitting in the same chair!
what do you think , do you think they look alike?

elevation's kind of new cd & give away...

so, i know it has been a month ago, but i just wanted to share a few pictures and tell you about our {elevation's} worship team's newest cd!

plus at the end i will tell you about my first ever blog giveaway!!! fun stuff!!

in july, our extraordinarily talented worship team at elevation released their brand new cd, called god with us. during the week of the release there was lots of celebrating. jamil and i felt honored to attend the cd release party which was held uptown {charlotte} at suite at epicenter! yes, our church rented out a nightclub in the heart of the city to praise God for how He has blessed our church and to celebrate Him as He worked through our worship pastor and leaders! we had such a great time! it was so much fun to hang out with a small group of staff, staff wives and key volunteers!!
jamil & me with our friends jill & billy

i just love this cd! i have been playing it nonstop in my van and on my ipod! i personally have no musical talent, although i love to listen to music. i can tell you this is good stuff! the music is awesome and the words are so full of worship and praise! you have to check it out! oh and it is on itunes!!!

ok, i just happen to have an extra copy of the cd...

so i am having my first ever blog give away!!

so if you would like to win this awesome cd here is what you need to do...

1. leave me a comment telling me you want it and tell me what your all time favorite song is.
that will give you 1 entry)

2. if you share about the give away on your blog, let me know that too ~ that will give you a second entry!

3. i will close the giveaway friday night 8/14/09 @ 11:59 pm and announce the winner by monday 8/17/09.

thanks for joining in on the fun!!! and good luck!!

just jill & me!

click here
to see lots more pictures taken by
our talented photographers at elevation!!
you will get a taste for what the event was like and
see a few pics of me, my hubby and our friends!


b90x...not p90x..

today is the last day that the big kids will be in camp. i choose to overlook my to do list and just spend some time looking at homeschool curriculum online while jaelyn took her morning nap. when she woke up i focused on caring for her and trying not to multitask. after she ate her lunch, we played on the floor. when she decided she wanted to occupy herself and play with toys, instead of trying to get something done, i continued to lay on the floor will she played and i read my bible. { the picture above is jaelyn trying to reach for my bible! }

at elevation church, the staff & their wives along with some volunteer leaders {including armor bearers & their wives ~ which means us!} have embarked on an awesome bible reading plan. on monday, we began reading the bible in 90 days. pastor steven is calling it B90x. kind of like the intense diet & work out plan, but with the bible.

it certainly is a challenge, but i am choosing to do it and do my best. here is my thinking; even if i get behind or only end up reading half of the bible ~ guess what? that is huge, it is way more than i have ever set out to do before. this week i did get behind, but i took the time today to get caught up. my goal is to do the best i can and read as much as i can!

i can not tell you how grateful i am to be a part of a church which challenges me in so many ways. it is awesome to be a part of the leadership at elevation church. and to take on huge goals in the name of God. we have continued to see God moving in so many ways over the summer. and we are looking forward to an amazing fall. {one of the highlights of the fall is we are opening our first permanent facility! more on that later.}


10 months old

isn't she so sweet??
i could just eat her up!

this last month has flown by at lightning speed
and i wish it would just slow down.
i've made a point to slow down our life,
so i am just asking for time to slow down too.

she loves to look at books now!

i can not believe my baby girl is 10 months old.

this is how she gets around:
"army crawl"

over the last week or so, jaelyn has gotten very good and going where she wants to go. she is "crawling" everywhere. her "crawling" is so cute, she is pulling herself around with her arms, like an "army crawl" and boy is she fast!!! and she is getting into everything that she sees in her line of sight, which on the floor there are lots of little crumbs and things for her to grab. this is a whole new dynamic and creates a whole new element of stress, making sure that the floor is a safe place for her to play.

here she is up on her knees!

things crossed off...

my three older kids have been at the morrison ymca sports camps this whole week. i drop them off at 9:00 am and jamil picks them up on his way home around 5:00. it has been pretty quiet around here. yup about eight hours of being a mommy of one child. i had these huge plans, lots of projects to cross off my "to do" lists. finally having a that wonderful feeling of getting a lot of stuff accomplished. and it just hasn't happened.

i have found myself crossing those things off the list like i has planned. even with having "just one" child at home, i am still busy meeting her needs. and of course there are the everyday chores that have to get done. that stuff didn't go away to camp with my kids. so much for crossing off the projects and big things than i had planned on doing.

i like to make lists and cross things off. i really like lists! i can't function without them. sometimes, i will do something and if it isn't on my list, i will write it on there just so i can cross it off. sick, i know. but i like the feeling of accomplishment. i am very hard on myself when i have a list and things aren't getting crossed off. sometimes my lists are just unrealistic and sometimes life happens and i can't get to do everything.

at the end of the day, i find myself focusing on the things that are left undone, instead of focusing on what i do accomplish in a day. i need to focus on the things that got crossed off the list and not the ones that are still left on the list without a line drawn through.

i am learning is that it is a choice. it is my choice. i can choose to focus on what i did accomplish, even if it was just a few things, and not on what i did not have time to do.

which do you focus on? what you did during the day or what you did not do?


stop & listen...

i know, i know i took a blog break and didn't tell you...
...it just kind of happened.

i was feeling overwhelmed with keeping it going. and with life in general.
i have had a lot to share but the words just didn't come out right.

so i took the pressure off of myself and didn't say anything for awhile.
(i did that with twitter and facebook too.)

it felt good to be quiet and just not share for awhile.

my blog is a direct representation of my life right now,
i just don't know what i want it to look like.

by being quiet, i have been able to hear what i need to be hearing
because i have been able to stop and listen.

sometimes we just need to do that so that we can hear what He has planned for us!